Irfan modest about goal against Japan Under-22s
Replacing LionsXII striker Sahil Suhaimi early in the second half, the 18-year-old wasted little time making an impression with his physical strength and technique to unsettle the young Samurai Blues.
His perseverance was rewarded when he bundled home a Safirul Sulaiman free kick from the right inside the six-yard area to pull one back less than half an hour after coming on.
When asked to describe his goal against one of the best Asian youth teams, Irfan was modest at his accomplishment.
“The ball came into the box, so I just had a swing at it inside,” he told FourFourTwo in the post-match interview.
Such was his threat in the final third that the Japanese placed two to three blue shirts to mark him tightly each time he got the ball.
It was their mark of respect of his abilities that had their head coach Makoto Teguramori and his Singapore counterpart Aide Iskandar singing his praises of the lanky forward.
“When he (Irfan) scored, he showed us how our defenders ought to be defending better with his positioning and shooting inside the box,” said Teguramori.
Aide acknowledged he was the sole bright spot in an otherwise poor overall showing from the hosts. “Irfan is the positive spark for our side tonight and he showed he could compete with the best from Asia,” he added.
Irfan was modest about his achievement as he felt it was a challenging outing against the young Samurai Blues.
“The Japanese were very disciplined and professional in their approach and application to the game tonight and it was tough coming up against them,” he continued.
“For me, this goal is just the beginning as I will need to continue working hard and give my best for the team.”
Picture courtesy of Weixiang Lim